Why precincts stink

Last updated 05:00 21/11/2013

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OPINION: In light of recent problems with prostitutes doing trade on people's front lawns, I thought I'd check where they were being directed to by the Rebuild Gods.

Strangely, there seems to be little information on where street-walking prostitutes should locate themselves in the new Christchurch.

Social engineering is all the rage and we can't expect sex workers to just disappear.

So where do those who draw up the plans want them to trade?

I know in an ideal world we'd have sex workers operating out of licensed brothels.

But, for all sorts of reasons, street working continues.

And, if you can't get rid of something, then the best thing you can do is manage it.

My buddy Dutch Gary is a worldly type and he's got a great idea. Being Dutch, he's pretty progressive on issues involving the sex industry.

He reckons we should move the prostitutes into the Justice Precinct.

Gary is a serial achiever, a bit of a renaissance man, and has found success in businesses all over the world.

Lately, he's been turning his brain to urban planning and the rebuild of Christchurch.

Gary thinks precincts stink.

''Imagine walking through the Justice Precinct at night. The streets are empty, the building lights are off, and the walls of glass reflect the street lights. You are alone because there is no reason for people to walk here at night.

A police car and ambulance pass by at speed. This will not be a nice place to be more than half the time.

''I think putting prostitution in an empty, resident-free, surveillance-camera-heavy neighbourhood sounds like a smart idea.

After we'd talked  about it, Gary went home and wrote a document called: The Problem With Precincts

This taught me that successful people follow through with what they announce they'll do at the pub as opposed to morons like me who make bold claims that never eventuate.

After researching the issue, Gary concluded that the reason precincts are dominant in central city plans is that they are the expected solution from smart and highly paid consultants.

Psychologically, consultants are motivated towards clear solutions (precincts) that they can later point to as their achievement. 

Unfortunately, cities that are designed with clear building blocks, such as Brasilia and Canberra, are not high on lists of quality of life and tourist appeal.

If precincts are being forced upon us, the best we can do is work out how to adapt them to better suit the needs of the community, with  prostitutes working in the Justice Precinct a great example.

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''That's some excellent stuff,'' I said when I next saw Gary.

''You should send it to The Press. They'd probably give you a couple of hundred bucks to publish that.''

He laughed and said he wanted to muse on the idea for a while before submitting it to anyone.

''Well, how about I just pick out the most salacious bit about the prostitutes in the Justice Precinct and turn it into a column. Then at least one of us can make a buck off your clever thinking."

- The Press

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